By Dorene Internicola
NEW YORK (Reuters) - If you're spending more time running, walking or pumping iron in the gym and still not losing weight, fitness experts say it could be due to too big a reward for still too little exercise.
Although fitness has indisputable health benefits, it takes a lot of walking or running to burn off the calories in a donut.
"There's a war between exercise and nutrition in our heads," said American Council on Exercise spokesperson Jonathan Ross. "People tend to overestimate the amount of physical activity they get. They work out a little bit and treat themselves a lot."
A report by the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation showed that although Americans say they are more active, it has not made much of a dent in the obesity epidemic that affects more than one-third of U.S. adults.
Ross, a personal trainer based outside Washington, D.C., said exercise can play a role in weight reduction, but without broader lifestyle and nutritional changes, that role is limited.
"We put exercise in a box and once that exercise box is filled in we don't do much the rest of the day," he explained, adding that a post-workout calorie-dense treat doesn't help.
"Some (weight-loss) programs stress nutrition, some stress exercise," he said. "But the two together are greater than the parts."
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